Thursday, April 2, 2009

How do I accept this? Please give advice.

I knew the day would come. I know that I have to find a way to work through it, but it's so hard for me to see Carson exposed to stuff I don't want him to be exposed to.

We have neighbors up the street who have a child just a few days younger than Carson. They are the only neighbors we know with a child his age and his mother and I enjoy chatting together while the kids are playing.

They usually come down to our house, but the last couple times, she's invited us to come visit them and once even kept Carson for me for a few hours. It's difficult for me though because they have a very different type of household. I think overall, our parenting styles are not that different. To the best of my knowledge, they do not use corporal punishment, I've see her implement time-outs effectively and appropriately, they eat healthy (even better than we do), and she praises their achievements and believes their educations are important.

However, we don't allow weapons as toys. No guns, swords, pretending to be a power ranger, etc. My boys were NEVER even aware of those things until being around their son. (We'll call me Johnny). Almost everything Johnny plays is a gun, sword, light saber, etc. That's when he is playing. He wants to spend the entire time playing video games. Now Carson has a V-Smile that he plays about once every couple months for about 30 minutes. He really has no interest and never asks. Johnny however has a Nintendo Wii (which I've not seen him play), an XBox, and a Playstation. He plays very (to me) violent games where skeletons attack the guy and he cuts them open with swords, people kick the crap out of each other, people shoot bad guys, etc. Even when his mom tells him to turn it off, then he just talks constantly about it. Carson will even ask him to play something with him and Johnny will just say, I don't want to. "I want to play my game." and then pout b/c his mom says no or talk about it and act out the shooting or kicking.

I want Carson to have friends and I love that they are so close and the same age and that I enjoy talking to his mother. His mom also has depression as well and so we've been able to be so open with each other and can call one another when we are having bad days.

I am having the hardest time though with Carson talking about these things or wanting to have those kinds of toys. I don't like know that he wants to kick at stuff or pretend he has a sword that he's cutting his brother in half with. When we stop him and talk to him about it, he stops, but it's a conversation every time we've played with this child. Carson understands that Johnny's house has different rules about what's okay than our house, but now Carson says he wants to go there so he can watch Johnny play those games or so he can play guns.

How as a mother do I deal with this? How as a mother do I accept that I can't control everything he will be exposed to in this world?


Viv said...

We have a Wii. My four older children share it. The types of games they play are very different. There are a couple of National Geographic based games that my daughter has that I LOVE love love. My boys have some really decent games as well. One idea might be to talk to the Mom and tell her that you are having some discipline issues with your son trying to reenact what he sees in the games they play together. I would offer to rent a game that I like and wouldn't mind letting the boys play...and hopefully that will solve the problem with violence in games.

In the grand scheme of things it gets harder and harder to deal with outside influence as children get older. By exposing your son to some of it now, you may lessen his interest in it later.

I don't allow toy guns in my home, and as a result, I returned toy guns purchased by my Aunt for safe keeping over at her house. My children play with them there, but, never at home. Perfect solution? Nope. When I tried to ban them from touching toy guns, their great aunt bought them all toy cross bows...which wasn't where I was trying to go with that at all. So, in the interest of trying not to let the forbidden fruit look too sweet and tempting...I compromised.

In the end though, it is all about what you are comfortable with, and of course what works for your family.

kim said...

We also allow playstation and have a Wii.
We do try and keep the games age appropriate. That does not mean every game is educational. Even in the Star Wars lego games which is meant for the younger crowd there is still sword and gun play.
We also allow play guns and swords. We discuss the difference between real and pretend and we do ask parents of the kiddos who come over to play if they are okay with the gun play. We also always ask families if they have the real thing in their home.
It is my oldest who is 9yrs old that is into the guns. In general we find that they are not shooting at one another, but play army and are always looking for the 'bad-guys'.
I guess I count it as a learning experience. It is one of those things that I would rather have him openly play with, rather than be so curious that he makes a bad choice in a more dangerous situation, like finding a real gun.
I don't know if this is right, but it works for us.

girldogtorch said...

I think you're doing the right thing-- it sounds like the intensity of his fascination with his friend's toys is a natural, bubbly curiosity. Remember that research shows that parents and the family have much more influence than friends (even though it doesn't always feel that way), so it's still you who are forming and influencing him. If anything, these are ample opportunities for you to be consistent, kind, and firm, and for your son to learn the boundary again and again, which kids need.

Heidi said...

I have no advice for you, but wanted to give you a big hug about the bad situation.